Cannabis sativa grows in the tropical, subtropical, and temperate regions. It is generally considered a single species of the mulberry family (Moraceae) with multiple morphological variants (e.g., C. indica or C. americana). It is an herb of varying size; some are quite bushy and attain a height of 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.6 m). Due to genetic differences, some plants produce strong fibers (but little THC) and others produce a substantial quantity of THC but weak fibers. The fiber-producer is grown commercially for cloth, rope, roofing materials, and floor coverings; this was cultivated as a cash crop in colonial America for such purposes (Hart, 1980). During World War II, when it appeared that the United States might be cut off from Southeast Asian hemp, necessary to the war effort, the plants were cultivated in the mid-western states. Some of them continue to grow wild today,
Biosynthetic Pathway of Cannabinoids
Biosynthetic Pathway of Cannabinoids but since they are of the fiber-producing variety, they contain little drug content.
The drug-producing variety is widely cultivated in societies where its use is condoned. Illegal crops are also planted, some in the United States. The choice parts are the fresh top leaves and flowers of the female plant. The leaves have a characteristic configuration of five deeply cut serrated lobes. When they are harvested, they often resemble lawn cuttings—which accounts for the slang term "grass."
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